News (Text)


When:
December 22, 2018 @ 11:30 am
2018-12-22T11:30:00+05:30
2018-12-22T11:45:00+05:30

NEWS 

22 DECEMBER 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: SOCIAL – RIGHTS

All 22 accused set free in Sohrabuddin encounter case

2.

GS II: GOVERNANCE – POLICY

Furore in Rajya Sabha over order on data ‘interception’

3

GS II: SOCIAL – SCHEMES

Himachal, Kerala and T.N. top development index

4.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Hefty fines if States fail to give plans to clean up rivers: NGT

5.

GS II: GOVERNANCE – POLICY

Order challenges SC verdict on privacy: experts

6

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Central teams assessing drought damage in 6 States

7.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

Jim Mattis quits after clashing with Trump

8.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

U.S. to withdraw troops from Afghanistan

9.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

Trump warns of a long shutdown

10.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

U.S. charges 2 Chinese with cyber espionage

11.

GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE

High fares slow air traffic growth to 4-year low

 GS II: SOCIAL – RIGHTS

All 22 accused set free in Sohrabuddin encounter case

  • Thirteen years after the killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court acquitted all the 22 accused, saying a conspiracy could not be proven.
  • Judge S.J. Sharma said, “The way in which the evidence was brought before me, I could not help. The prosecution could not prove a conspiracy; it could not prove it beyond reasonable doubt despite investigations being conducted by various agencies.”
  • Judge Sharma went on to add, “I feel sorry that a family had lost its son [Sohrabuddin] and daughter-in-law [Kausar Bi], and it is unfortunate that a mother has lost her son [Tulsiram], but I am helpless on the evidence. I am really sorry but the way in which the evidence was brought before me, I could not help.”
  • Judge Sharma said that of 210 witnesses, 92 turned hostile.

 

GS II: GOVERNANCE – POLICY

Furore in Rajya Sabha over order on data ‘interception’

  • The Rajya Sabha was adjourned as the Opposition accused the government of creating a “police state” by authorising 10 agencies for “interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.”
  • The notification means websites and web-based applications visited by a “suspect” on a computer or a mobile handset could be intercepted by the service providers at the request of the authorised agency after it has been cleared by the Home Secretary.
  • The 20 December, 2018 order allows Central agencies — from the Intelligence Bureau to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to the Cabinet Secretariat (RAW) to the Commissioner of Delhi Police — to intercept, monitor and de-crypt “any information” generated, transmitted, received or stored in “any computer resource”.
  • The service provider will be liable to share the information under Section 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, 200, and Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.

 

 

GS II: GOVERNANCE – POLICY

Order challenges SC verdict on privacy: experts

  • The 20 December, 2018 order allowing 10 different Central agencies to snoop on people is seen as a challenge to the nine-judge Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court, which directed the government to protect informational privacy of every individual.
  • In its 2017 judgment, the court had asked the government always to balance individual privacy and the legitimate concerns of the state carefully and sensitively, even if national security was at stake.
  • A subsequent government press release explaining that prior approval of the Union Home Secretary would be taken before snooping has no legal value.
  • Experts say the new order may be challenged in the court. The privacy judgment has asked the government “to be sensitive to the needs of, and the opportunities and dangers posed to, liberty in a digital world”.

GS II: SOCIAL – SCHEMES

Himachal, Kerala and T.N. top development index

  • Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu have been ranked highest in terms of being on track to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030, according to a first-of-its-kind index, SDG Index Score, released by NITI Aayog.
  • The index comprises a composite score for each State and Union Territory based on their aggregate performance across 13 of the 17 SDGs.
  • The score, ranging between 0 and 100, denotes the average performance of the State/UT towards achieving the 13 SDGs and their respective targets.
  • The average Indian score was 57.
  • Among the States, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh are the front runners, with an SDG India Index score of 69.
  • Among the UTs, Chandigarh is the front runner with a score of 68.
  • Tamil Nadu has a score 66, and is the top scorer on the goals to do with eradicating poverty and also providing clean and affordable energy.
  • Uttar Pradesh was at the bottom with a score of 42.
  • The aim of the index is to instil competition among States to improve their performance across social indices as the States’ progress will determine India’s progress towards achieving the set goals by 2030,” NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.
  • Using the index, States will be monitored on a real-time basis.
  • Overall, the average score for the States was the worst when it came to gender equality (36), in creating sustainable cities and communities (39), in enabling industry, innovation, and infrastructure (44), and in eradicating hunger (48).

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Hefty fines if States fail to give plans to clean up rivers: NGT

  • Noting that 16 States have submitted “incomplete action plans” pertaining to the cleaning of 351 polluted river stretches in the country, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has extended the deadline for submitting the action plans to January 31, 2019.
  • The green panel, however, added that in case of non-compliance, hefty compensation will be levied on the States and the Union Territories.
  • The NGT said, “…for every delay, compensation for damage to the environment will be payable by each State or UT at the rate of Rs. 1 crore per month for each of the Priority-I and Priority II stretches, Rs. 50 lakh per month for stretches in Priority III and Rs. 25 lakh per month each for Priority IV and Priority V stretches.”
  • The tribunal added that the compensation amount “may be recovered from the erring officers.”
  • State Pollution Control Boards and pollution control committees of the UTs have been directed to display quality of the water of polluted river stretches on their respective websites within 30 days and the same has to be revised every three months.
  • The directions came after the green panel took suo-motu cognisance of a report published by The Hindu, pertaining to an increased number of polluted river stretches across the country.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Central teams assessing drought damage in 6 States

  • Inter-ministerial teams are visiting six States to assess the impact of drought in the summer monsoon season.
  • The State governments have requested drought relief assistance from the Centre to the tune of almost Rs. 17,000 crore for two crore hectares of affected land, according to Agriculture Ministry data.
  • Rainfall shortages have hit hard in three States of the Deccan plateau — Maharshtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh — as well as the western States of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • Jharkhand and Odisha have also been affected.
  • Maharashtra is the worst affected in terms of land area, with more than 85 lakh hectares hit by drought conditions, according to data provided to Parliament by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh this week.
  • Out of its 36 districts, 26 districts have been affected, and the State government has requested Rs. 7,522 crore in central assistance.
  • The inter-ministerial teams will assess the damage and submit their reports to a sub-committee headed by the Agriculture Secretary.
  • The sub-committee will send final recommendations for financial assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund to a high-level committee, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

 

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

Jim Mattis quits after clashing with Trump

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis abruptly said he was quitting after falling out with President Donald Trump over his foreign policies, including surprise decisions to yank troops from Syria and start planning a drawdown in Afghanistan.
  • General Mattis announced plans to depart in a candid resignation letter to Mr. Trump that laid bare the growing divide between them, and implicitly criticised the President for failing to value America’s closest allies, who fought alongside the U.S. in both conflicts.
  • Because you have a right to a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Gen. Mattis said in the letter.
  • The President announced that U.S. troops in Syria would be withdrawn, a decision that upended American policy in the region.
  • Also, an official said the President was planning to withdraw at least 5,000 of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

 

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

U.S. to withdraw troops from Afghanistan

  • U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to pull a significant number of troops from Afghanistan, a U.S. official has said, but the Afghan presidency brushed off concerns that the drawdown would affect security.
  • Reports suggested as many as half of the 14,000 troops in the war-torn country could be leaving.
  • The move stunned and dismayed diplomats and officials in Kabul who are intensifying a push to end the 17-year conflict with the Taliban.
  • Taliban already controls vast amounts of territory and is causing “unsustainable” Afghan troop casualties.

 

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

Trump warns of a long shutdown

  • President Donald Trump threatened a “very long” government shutdown if opposition Democrats refuse to approve funds for more border security and a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
  • Th deadline looms to approve funds to keep the U.S. government up and running.
  • Without an agreement, key agencies will close and many workers will be furloughed right before Christmas without a paycheck.
  • Trump appeared to harden his demand for $5 billion in funding for the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, a pet project he has fought for since he began campaigning for the post of the U.S. president in 2015.

 

 

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

U.S. charges 2 Chinese with cyber espionage

  • The United States has charged two Chinese men it says hacked the computer systems of companies and government agencies in a dozen countries, in what says was a wide-reaching State-backed campaign of cyber espionage.
  • NASA and the U.S. Navy were among those allegedly targeted in a programme the U.S. Justice Department said also hit a major bank, telecom companies and healthcare providers in 12 countries.
  • The charges drew a furious response from Beijing, which accused Washington of “fabricating facts”.

 

GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE

High fares slow air traffic growth to 4-year low

  • Higher airfares stalled the growth in domestic aviation traffic in November to a four-year low of 11.03%, according to DGCA data.
  • The domestic aviation market has seen the fastest growth globally and registered double-digit growth in the past 51 months since September 2014.
  • Calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017 have seen an average growth of 20.43%, 23% and 17.3% respectively.
  • The growth rates tumbled by more than 2% since October, which witnessed 13.3% growth.
  • The import duty of 5% on jet fuel led to an increase in airfares and hit demand from passengers, experts say.

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